Empty inside

It's odd to think, now and then, that the organs responsible for three little lives are gone. The eggs I've had with me since my own birth are now part of a pathology report. The uterus that stretched to hold babies as big as 8.5 lbs now in slices confirming it wasn't trying to take my own life.

It's almost an empty feeling, similar to after having given birth. Something's missing, not quite right.

On day 4 since my bilateral salpingo oophorectomy and hysterectomy, I haven't been overly emotional, but I'm afraid the hot flashes have started, so who knows how far away the emotions will be.

Yet the emptiness lingers.

I wrote once about the last firsts I had with my third baby and I had similar thoughts last month when I had my last period. It's something we as women deal with from our teen years, It's something we bitch about most months and rightly so for those of us who deal with pain/nausea/fatigue. But in the same vein, we look to it as a sign that we are 'ok' and healthy if it comes regularly. It is necessary to reproduce and the hormones that push our cycle each month play a role in our hearts, bones and brains.

Even without my tubes, I got my period each month or feared a misplaced pregnancy. I put off removing my ovaries by a few years to keep those hormones in my body. Now they are gone.

So while I, too, bitched about my period each month (and I won't miss the expense of pads and tampons), I am much more scared of never getting it again. I am scared of how my body will react. I'm scared of the emotions. I'm scared of the bone loss. I'm scared I won't be on-point mentally. 

The only thing scarier is ovarian cancer, which is why I'll take all of the above to hopefully be around for those three little lives. 

In my pre-op  bloodwork, I had a scare. My CA-125 -- a highly imperfect marker for ovarian cancer -- spiked. It was a scary thing to hear and see. My gyn-onc personally called me and told me it was unlikely to actually be OC, but it was nerve wracking. Yet that is all we have to go on -- a marker that jumps 100 times the normal due to ovulation -- and ultrasounds that were they to show anything would be showing Stage 4 cancer. 

So instead of living with the risk for ovarian cancer (nearly 65% for BRCA1) and the lack of screening, previvors like myself must make the choice to live with the emptiness.